How do we get Leeds’s falling recycling rates up?

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Fresh calls have been made for a more “ambitious” approach to Leeds’s recycling policy, after rates in the city tumbled from an initial 10 year high.

Councillors debated the issue at a full council meeting at Leeds Civic Hall after Conservative Barry Anderson submitted a White Paper Motion calling for “a more ambitious strategy...to deliver long overdue improvements to these services”.

In his citation, he called for an expansion to a 12 month brown bin collection service; the introduction of kerbside glass collections for all residents; an expanded food waste service and a “renewed energy” citywide to push the current 38.5 per cent recycling rate in Leeds to 50 per cent.

Responding with an amendment to the original motion, which was passed by the chamber, councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive board member for the environment and sustainability, said an “ambitious review” of the city’s waste strategy was currently underway.

She said the review would “fully assess the feasibility of a number of recycling opportunities including expanding our food waste collection service and introducing kerbside glass collections”.

She added that “despite significant budget pressures, it has already been agreed that brown bin collections will be expanded to cover all suitable properties in the city over the coming months”.

“This council recognises that pressures affecting the international market for recycling have resulted in a drop in the amount recycled both in Leeds and nationwide, evidencing the need for government to invest in local recycling infrastructure in order to make the UK more self-sufficient,” she said.

The YEP reported back in 2013 that the city was aiming to hit an overall recycling rate of 50 per cent by 2020.

However this target had itself been reduced down from an original aim of 55 per cent by 2016, with wider funding cuts blamed for the ongoing setbacks.